Battling the Wintertime Blues

Are the wintertime blues destroying your bliss?

Wintertime Blues SADIt’s no wonder, with storm systems dumping record-breaking temperatures and snow this year and surges of cold arctic air in most of the country. And the latest weather reports are not offering much hope for a change anytime soon.

Don’t hate me, I live in the California desert where it is currently in the 80’s, but my heart goes out to you in the rest of the country suffering from the extreme weather. So, in honor of all of you in the Midwest and Eastern states buried in snow, I’m re-publishing information from a previous blog I wrote with some simple but effective tips to help you stay cheerful through this rough weather.

The “winter blues” are characterized by mild depression and low energy that can affect everyone during cold and dark days. Some people suffer from SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which medical experts have officially recognized as a medical condition. Symptoms of SAD include depression, low energy, lack of motivation and less productivity, headaches, inability to sleep or an increase in the amount of time spent sleeping, lack of concentration, and decreased interest in activities that usually bring pleasure. In extreme cases, you may need medical attention.

However, the good news is, in most cases, you don’t need to suffer any longer with a few lifestyle changes. Here are a few tips to help you endure these brutal winter days:

  • Be sure and get some exercise. You’ll feel healthier and produce some of those “feel good” chemicals that improve your mood.
  • Winter HappySpend time with supportive and loving people.
  • If it’s safe, get more light by walking outside on a bright winter day. If conditions are too dangerous, try to bring as much light into the home by keeping drapes and blinds wide open. Sit close to windows.
  • Eat healthy and try to reduce stress levels. These are things you should be doing anyway, but are particularly important if you’re suffering from SAD.
  • Use light therapy with a specialized light box for 30 minutes a day. Make sure the box has more than 10,000 lux, which is more than 20 times stronger than the average light bulb. Some insurance companies cover the cost if patients are using the light under a physician’s supervision.
  • This is a no-brainer, but if you can afford to do so or you’re planning a vacation, visit a tropical destination. Or you can join the crowds of people we have visiting here in the Palm Springs area for a much needed break from the weather.

So my thoughts are with you. Follow these tips and don’t despair. Spring is right around the corner!

Images courtesy of dan and imagerymajestic at


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

You may also like...

12 Responses

  1. Holly says:

    Hi Julie, some good advice here. Here in Kansas City it’s dull, gray, and cold. Not a ton of snow, but I’m ready for spring. I don’t hate you for your warm sunny weather. Enjoy it!

  2. I am in warm Southern California (Rancho Mirage) with you but listeners on my Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod Radio & TV Show (where I spend my summers) have been talking about how they must “shovel off their roofs.” So, I am sharing these great tips on my social media pages for them.

    Kat Kanavos

  3. Cat Michaels says:

    Julie, I am surprised at just how much a lack of light impacts my spirits. I always feel better on a sunny day; more of a slug on those long, cold dark wintry ones. Thanks for the reminder.

    • juliegorges says:

      I live in almost constant sunshine now, but I remember when I lived in Washington state for a few years how energized I felt during those long summer days that didn’t end until 9:30 at night. I would be out gardening late in the evening listening to children playing into the night. Then during the short, cold, dark days I’d be in my PJs by 5:00 ready to go to bed!

  4. Suzie Cheel says:

    Must be a real challenge, long while since i have lived in a cold climate and then we rarely had snow. Somehow I think I am married to bare feel 🙂 Sending you warm hugs from down under xx

  5. Marla says:

    I’m on Vancouver Island, so while it is fairly warm, we don’t get all that much sun in the winter. I usually plan a winter trip to sun (next month I’m off to Isla Mujeres near Cancun for a solo adventure).

    This year I have also been drinking green smoothies daily and have recently stopped eating wheat – I feel like it’s helping with energy, mental clarity and mood. And a walk to the beach always helps 🙂

    Part of the reason I chose to create a location-independent business is so that I can be in warm & sunny places more often! It’s important for each of us to figure out what works best and then choose to do more of it. Helpful tips, thx.

    • juliegorges says:

      Vancouver Island is so beautiful! But after living in Puyallup, Washington for a few years, I can easily imagine the dark and short days you have been experiencing lately. Glad you have found some great ways to keep your spirits up! As a freelance writer, I also love that I can move wherever there is Internet – SO great, right?

  6. Diane Topkis says:

    I live in NY and still love winter. I love long walks and cross country skiing on cold sunny days. It’s amazing how good sun makes you feel. I used to only take cold weather vacation in winter mostly skiing. I think I was afraid that if I left the cold I wouldn’t come back. Now my mom lives in FL which is where I am for 2 weeks. Guess I’ve gotten softer as I got older!

    • juliegorges says:

      Thanks Diane for reminding us that we can find joy and happiness in all kinds of weather. Winter has a beauty all its own and positive aspects. I am a born and raised California girl, but lived in Washington state for a few years and loved experiencing the different seasons. I think we do crave sunshine more as we age though!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: